|It's What's For Dinner|
It is indeed a calm and pleasant evening... not too far from the lake, near the tree's edge, a deer stirs, eating the foliage. Something of a rare sight in these parts, to be sure. Suddenly, the deer looks up abruptly, and turns as though to dart back into the forest, when it practically vanishes, a faintly glimmering blur passing over it with a dull crunch. There's some rustling in the foliage, maybe a hundred feet from Rayne's tree, and the faint, weak bleating of the deer.
Rayne blinks as she watches the deer. "Huh... not seen much in larger game like that around Twisted..." She then blinks as it apparently just vanishes. "What the..." She peers out in the direction of the bleating, but doesn't move just yet. For all she knows, it's a blink deer that managed to teleport itself into a tree.
For a moment, the bleating continues... then there's a louder snap that echoes through the forest, and it falls silent. The rustling brush continues to shake, although it's somewhat lessened at this point, barely audible from in the tree.
Rayne blinks and tilts her head. /Was that someone hunting?/ she ponders to herself as she keeps peering in that direction. Now a bit more curious, she carefully sets her drawing pad in the crook of a branch before swinging gracefully to the ground. She starts approaching the bushes in question, not exactly stealthily, but not announcing her presense, either.
It's a little easier to see from ground level; not so many branches in the way. As Rayne gets gets a little closer, she can see the fallen form of the deer, laying on its side on the ground, unmoving... but it's the humanoid shape crouched over the neck of the deer that's out of place. As she makes a little noise - maybe it's stepping on a twig, maybe it was kicking a pebble, it's difficult to say - that's when the figure blurs. One moment it's crouched over the fallen animal, and in the next moment Edward is crouched, facing Rayne and hissing in challenge, as though there was no movement between. A thin tendril of blood runs down from his mouth, and his eyes are completely jet black.
Rayne blinks and takes a step back from Edward, hand reaching towards the lower hem of her dress, a single finger looking ready to lift the side for some reason. She looks a bit confused, and her words only strengthen that feeling. "The hell?"
Edward takes a single-half step towards Rayne at her words, then straightens, turning in a flash and putting another ten feet of distance between him and the woman, putting his hand on a very heavy looking oak tree. In a strangled voice, he says, "I'm sorry you had... I'm sorry. I thought you were farther away."
Rayne continues to look confused, but at least she's not reaching for her hidden weapons now. "Um, okay? Look, there's no laws or anything against hunting wildlife, but really, calm down about people running into you. I've done a fair amount of hunting in my past, too, so don't worry, I'm not squeemish about it."
Edward laughs bitterly for just a moment, bringing a hand up to wipe across his face. "Laws." He shakes his head a little bit, still not looking away from the tree. "It's not the law I was concerned about. I put you in danger, Miss Rayne, and for that I apologize."
Rayne again raises an eyebrow. "'Put me in danger'? Is this about your reaction to me walking up to you? Edward, I assure you, I'm a lot more difficult to kill than you might be thinking I am." She doesn't approach him any closer, however, maintaining the distance between them.
Edward lets go of the tree from where his fingers had gouged into the trunk, letting the splinters and sawdust fall to the ground. "I'm glad we won't have to find out." He's quiet for a few more moments before turning around to face Rayne, this time at a normal, human speed, his eyes now a rich amber in colour. The cat is out of the bag now, might as well give her a full explanation. "I... lose control, when I feed. Once I've started, it's very... *very* difficult for me to keep from devouring anything that smells like food. I've had this park staked out for weeks, trying to find a time when there was nobody close enough... but I couldn't restrain myself any longer."
Rayne keeps her eyebrow raised. "...Look... you can get your meat elsewhere, unless this is some sort of 'still alive' thing? That said... There's always people in the park. It's not a good place to hunt if you're worried about collateral damage." She frowns, looking away in thought. "The... nature trail behind the school might be better? There's at least more wildlife back there. I can't suggest the wastelands, though."
Edward, a little incredulous, shakes his head a little bit. Can she really not understand? It seems incredible, but all the same, there it is. "I daren't be anywhere so close to a school when I'm..." He can't bring himself to say it. "...when I'm like this. It's far too dangerous."
Rayne crosses her arms and lowers her head slightly, peering at Edward. "When you're like what? Would you care to elaborate? Look, the school has a curfew. No one is supposed to be out past... okay, I don't remember the exact time, but the fact is there shouldn't be anyone out. This city's inherently dangerous, afterall." She then glances around the park. "Well, I'll give you that it's pretty abandoned here, too, at night. Maybe just wait until a bit later."
Edward chuckles wearily, shaking his head again. "What people are supposed to be doing and what people are doing are two vastly different things, Rayne." Hanging his head a little, he sighs. She knows too much already, and getting the wrong picture could be fatal for her... or so he believes, at least. "When I'm feeding, my instincts take over. I'm... I'm a vampire, Rayne." He waits, now, for the inevitable scream of horror.
Rayne groans as Edward mentions people not doing what they're supposed to be doing. "Ugh... tell me about it..." When he admits to being a vampire, however, her left eye twitches. "Oh, for... another one?" She sighs, hanging her head. "At least you're better behaved than Flandre."
Of all the possible reactions Edward could have been expecting, that one ranks nowhere on the list. No screaming... no fear at all. Just annoyance. He looks up at her, more than a little surprised. "There are other vampires here?" It takes him a moment to think about that. "Well, I suppose that's not surprising, considering all of the strange things that are in this place. It's practically inevitable." He sighs again. "I don't suppose I could... prevail upon you to keep my secret?"
Rayne laughs out loud. "Other vampires! Yes, yes, most definitely. Flandre, like I said, is a student at said school. Nowhere near as mentally mature as you, and not exactly caring about secrecy on the subject, I might add. Really, I'm surprised you haven't heard of her, she's been a real pain to me in the past..." She then looks up thoughtfully. "She's gotten better, though." At the request to keep his secret, though, she tilts her head again. "Why are you hiding it? Look, Edward, there's a lot of crazy people in this city." She motions out past the lake where there's a small neighborhood with suburban houses and everything... "There's a dragon that live over there. A dragon. You're talking to a phoenix that works for a war god, who's apparently married to an elf and a faerie. A well behaved vampire? People aren't going to really care that much."
Edward runs a hand through his hair, looking a little nonplussed at this new information. "There's a vampire... *openly* going to high school." He shakes his head lightly at that. Even for a vampire, it's a lot to absorb. "I suppose you might be right. It's just... such a shift from home. Where I come from, secrecy was enforced by the death penalty. You learned to be circumspect around the mortals, or you earned yourself a quick execution." He sighs again, repeating, "I suppose you are right after all. I... would just like to take this at my own pace, if at all possible." He smiles a little, clearly attempting to be charming. "After all, it's not like there's some kind of registry, is there?"
Rayne pales at the mention of a registry. "Oh, dear Sahai no. That would be a nightmare of paperwork! This person's a deity, this person's a human that's been changed into a hyena hybrid, this person's a phoenix, this person's a mermaid, this person's a bug lady, this person's an earthworm with a power suit, this person's an aquatic invertebrate with a water bubble around her at all times... No, no, we generally don't care unless you start causing trouble." Rayne seems to be pulling her examples from actual experience.
That actually draws a laugh from Edward, the first genuine sound he's made in... well, a rather long week. "Well, trouble is the farthest thing from what I want, to be sure. I wouldn't have waited so long to... eat, otherwise."
Rayne sighs and shakes her head. "Look, if you're just... up front about it, you might be able to make an arrangement with someone about it. Flandre has... wierd arrangements for feeding now that keeps her out of trouble, for example." She shrugs. "I ain't gonna tell anyone on you. It's not my business if you're not attacking anyone. But I'm telling you, it's really nice to be open about what you are, and you can do it here. I can say I'm a phoenix here and people respond with curiousity, not fear or disbeleif like they would have in my home universe. It could be the same for you, ya know? People that don't like Flandre don't like her for her personality, not because she's a vampire." It's easy to get the feeling that Rayne is likely one of those people.
Edward's eyes shoot open wide on hearing that this Flandre has 'arrangements'. "She *what*!?" He shakes his head a little. "That's... hard to believe, I'm sorry to say. I...." He seems lost for words. "I can think of only one vampire who would have the strength to taste a human's blood and yet be able to hold themselves back from killing them." He looks a little embarrassed, as he adds, "Certainly I couldn't do it. Either this Flandre is significantly more impressive than she lets on, or..." He trails off, shaking his head. "Either way, I... don't know if I'd be comfortable being... out, as it were. I feel like that could lead to me making mistakes."
Rayne looks slightly dissapointed, but then shrugs. "Well, up to you. Like I said. It's your business. Just... hunt later at night. After midnight or something. Like I said, I've done some deer hunting in the past, so I kinda... recognized some of the noises, that's why I came over to investigate."
Edward nods a little bit at that. "Still, you're right... it is refreshing to know that someone can.. know what I am, but not be revolted by it." He's quiet for a moment, with a glance back at the body of the deer. "I am sorry for that. I'd thought you were farther away, but when I'm hungry it's difficult for me to control myself. My momentum must have carried us farther than I'd thought."
Rayne laughs and shakes her head. "That and I had already spotted the deer before you... tackled it? Deer aren't that common in the park, afterall." She then tilts her head, looking at the deer again. "So you lose control and suck 'em dry? Huh. Well, I guess Flandre does have the control not to do that, at least. Otherwise she'd have a god of sun and war on her case by now, and I don't think even she could have stood a chance against him."
Edward nods a little bit at that, looking to one side. "When we feed, we lose ourselves. There's nothing but the hunger for the time it takes to be sated. Instinct takes over." He shakes his head a little. "I have no desire to hurt anyone, let alone face reprisal for it, so in that respect I'm fortunate, I suppose. You won't have to worry about me feeding on anyone. I'm already a vegetarian." He chuckles a little at that, but his heart's not in it.
Rayne blinks at what Edward says, then looks down at the dead deer. She then looks back up to him while pointing at the deer with a blank expression on her face. "That's not a plant. Have you tried tomato juice?" While she says it fairly straight, she's probably joking. Right? Probably, as her face returns to a more natural expression afterwords. "Well, then it's best you do keep hunting deer, then... And definitely /not/ any lingering xenomorphs. You do /not/ want to drink their blood, trust me."
Edward can't help but smirk a little bit at that, but whether it's at her joke or her misunderstanding is for him to know. "Family joke. I never did care for tomatoes." He nods a little bit at that. "I'll avoid the aliens, yes. I've heard reports of how their blood burns. I doubt it would sustain me in any event."
Rayne nods, then tilts her head as she asks, "So, how does it work, then? Mammalian blood only? Or if you, say, wrestled a crocodile down, could you feed off them, too? Would it extend to invertibrates, or is that going way too far?"
Edward stops to actually think about that, leaning back against the tree and crossing his arms. "You know, I'm not actually certain? Mammalian blood is certainly more appetizing than non.... carnivores are better than herbivores... but I've never actually tried reptiles or the like." He shrugs a little, for effect. "Something to experiment with, I suppose."
Rayne nods, echoing the shrug. "Just was curious, was all. I'd guess the invertibrates are probably too far, unless it's more about a life force thing than the actual hemoglobin and stuff." She steps over to a nearby tree, not the same one Edward is leaning on, however, and pulls herself up to sit on a low branch. "So... I'm guessing there's a lot different with what makes you a vampire and what makes Flandre a vampire. Like, I don't see wierd crystaline wings on your back, and how despite her not having much self control, she didn't suck Sae or Sil dry. Also... she seems to tell if someone 'tastes' good or not by smell. It's... kinda creepy."
Edward smirks a little bit at that. "Well, any vampire could tell how you taste by smell... most of us are just polite enough to not mention it. As you say, it's pretty creepy." He shakes his head a little bit at that. "Yeah, maybe so. I've definitely never heard of anyone getting wings before... there are a lot of changes, but I've never heard of anyone growing anything new."
Rayne smirks lightly. "Oh, really? So you could tell I wasn't quite human that first time we met, then? Or were you too distracted by it being your first day here... and Ren being around."
Edward shrugs a little bit at that, expression looking a little distant. "I could tell that there was something off about you, but I didn't have a frame of reference to judge against at the time. You don't smell inhuman, entirely... but, like you say, there was a lot occupying my attention."
Rayne shrugs. "Well, at least in my home universe, you can't be a phoenix or a dragon or whatever without also being a more mundane species like human. So that's accurate." She glances out over the lake for a moment before looking down at the deer again. "...So... how long does this sate you? Uh, and what are you gonna do with the deer now?"
Edward glances down at the deer as well. "I can usually go a few weeks between meals. As for the rest of the deer, well... there's a few wolves hereabouts in the park as well. I noticed them a few days ago, but there were some schoolchildren about so I left them be. They'll probably end up finding it and making a meal of it as well."
Rayne nods and glances over towards the light in the tree where she was drawing. "Well, I should probably call it a night, I'm afraid. I have a shift tomarrow morning, afterall." With a light sigh, she drops from the branch she's sitting on and starts walking off in the direction of the light in the tree to retreive her things. "I'll see you around?" she asks over her shoulder.
Edward nods a little bit at that. "I'll be around, Rayne. It was nice to talk to you." As she turns to leave, he adds, "And... thank you."
Rayne looks back over her shoulder as she arrives at the aforementioned tree. "Hey... No problem," she says before climbing up the tree to grab her lamp and art pad.